Meeting Baan

7th July, 2009

Attended a lecture this morning by Mr Bann Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. He was visiting Ireland and gave a lecture to members of the Institute for International and European Affairs. It was organised in the elegant surroundings of Dublin Castle. I actually had an opportunity to meet the man himself as part of a reception before the event. A few of the attendees were ushered up to meet him. I think it’s the nearest I’ll ever get to meeting the Pope. A humble man but with an air of massive influence about him.


He made a very interesting speach. A lot of people in an environment like today turn up and read a text. He, on the other hand, delivered it as he peppered the speach with anecdotes of his friendship with Bono and other quips of interest to his audience. He stressed the need for all member states to back up political will with action. Particularly given his agenda, before here he was in Burma and after spending time in Ireland he is off to the G8.There is no point saying that something must be stopped but not providing the ‘boots on the ground’ to do it. There was a lot of gratitude for the work that Irish troops are doing in Kosova and Sudan.


For me the most relevant part of the morning was his focus on the work that the EU is doing abroad with the UN. There is now a developed wing of the EU that is engaged in peace keeping operations. I was struck by how the Secretary General emphasised the importance of this work. He was followed by other speakers. Noel Dorr was very impressive when he noted how the UN is the first global organisation in the history of the world.